What is Symbolic Significance Of Title “Jazz” By Toni Morrison? When we deeply concentrate on the aptness of the title of Jazz by Morrison to its central theme or subject matter, we come to know that it is best suited to its central theme. Whatever happens or is enacted in the plot construction of this novel the novelist sets its central idea is absolutely and aptly suited to its title.
In this novel, on the presentation of the city every city has its own cultural rites, customs, influencing powers, atmosphere, etc. on its inhabitants. Here, the city, presented in the novel, shapes and reshapes the behaviours, manners of life, ways of living, ways of thinking and reason of the characters. In this novel, Morrison presents the city force in the form of music. It is the recurring element of music in the novel that composes the city force as a moulding power in its characters.
As it is said that for a well knitted and coherent plot construction, the central theme or idea must justify the delineation (depiction) of all the characters. Here in this novel, we see that the influencing power as the central theme, affects every character for infusing a new spirit and change of life.
Here, it is worthy to note that music is inherited with Morrison’s family. Her mother-Ramash Willis was one of the great musicians of her age. She was a Jazz and opera singer while Morrison’s grandfather was a violin player. That’s why, the element of music is very evident in most of her literary writings.
For her, music serves as a force of bringing about some great changes in the behaviors, conducts, ways of life and the characters of people. It also highlights the colours, rites and customs of the people, and gets under the disguise of civilization. It also helps them in identifying their true and actual behaviour. It has all the traits (qualities) on the basis of which city can be built. It itself creates an atmosphere in which people can be differentiated from one another in different ages, times and places.
Moreover, Morrison is of the firm belief that music also helps us express our pent up (exhausted) emotions, feelings. and desires. Through this medium, we can imagine what we expect or suspect to take place or happen. It is only due to the alluring or influencing effects of music that Violet starts imaging in her stream of consciousness. In this state, she can’t separate her imagination from the effects of music.
Above all, we see that the force of music also changes the shapes of arrangements in the houses and minds of most of the characters in the novel. Though, from the beginning, up or the middle of the novel Morrison shows music affecting to influencing as a sheer and somewhat cruel force, working or getting active to its own accrued, yet in the end, we see it serving or affecting the main characters in a soothing and healing power. It is only the dominating force or power of the music at the time of a great tragedy that happened or occurred to the members of Trace’s family.
“Somebody in the house across the alley put a record on and the music floated into us through the open window. Mr.Trace moved his head to the rhythm and his wife snapped her fingers in tinie. She did a little step in front of him and he smiled. By and by they were dancing…………
So if neither food nor company nor its own shelter was important to it. Violet decided and Joe agreed, nothing was left to love or need but music.
Similarly, in another place in the novel, Joe Trace becomes able to come out of his guilt of murdering Dorcas just with the sheer effect of music.
Now, we are able to understand why Morrison uses it. And What is Symbolic Significance Of Title of Jazz music in her novel “Jazz”; the reason is very simple but evident to establishing jazz music as a central idea or theme. Though jazz music is a loud restless dance music of U.S. negro origin with inharmonious mode yet it serves for some useful purposes for Morrison.
Firstly it serves as expressing Morrison’s own thoughts and words on the subject. Secondly, it serves as the content on the novel itself. Thirdly, it symbolizes the stylistic techniques and language of the novel. Lastly, it serves as showing the structure of the novel beforehand.
In the concluding remarks, we can say What is Symbolic Significance Of Title and the main purpose of Morrison in using the element of music as a dominating force is that it brings about some certain changes in the behaviours, manners and ways of life of people in the force of the city. She thinks that the changes come in music first, then in people and then in the city. It is very worthy to mention that this novel “Jazz” is not a musical composition in itself but a mysterious and dominating power (force) for bringing about the changes in the behaviours and minds of the people. Jazz stands for a destruction change that appears in the outer and inner self of a human being.
As a result, it also serves as the ever changing conditions of African American wife in the 1920’s and a reflection of perpetual human struggle between right and wrong.